The pharmaceutical company Swedish Orphan International AB today took over the
assets in ViraNative AB, a biotech company based in Umeå, Sweden. ViraNative AB filed
for bankruptcy in September and Swedish Orphan International acquired the bankruptcy
estate today. Through the take over Swedish Orphan International acquires the
worldwide rights for the drug Multiferon®, approved in Sweden for the treatment of
malignant melanoma, and ensures future supply of the drug to patients across the world.
Swedish Orphan International is a Swedish company specialized in the development,
distribution and marketing of ”orphan drugs” (pharmaceuticals for treatment of serious
and rare diseases) in Europe. The company has since April 2007 the distribution rights for
Multiferon® in most European countries. Through today’s take over of the production
facilities in Umeå the company secures continued production and availability of
Multiferon. Swedish Orphan International also ensures that the approval process for
broader use in Europe will be initiated. Presently Multiferon is approved for use in three
countries within the European Union, and in approximately 10 countries worldwide.
- Multiferon is a unique product which potentially is lifesaving for a significant number of
patients. The purpose of the acquisition is to secure future availability of this important
treatment for patients all over the world, said Bo Jesper Hansen, CEO, Swedish Orphan
ViraNative AB filed for bankruptcy in September 2007 as the company no longer had
enough capital to continue its operations, and as a consequence of the filing all the
company’s 33 employees were given notice.
Swedish Orphan International’s aim is to create a production facility to meet current
market demands and to secure a long term solution for the manufacturing of Multiferon.
The new company is named Swedish Orphan International Manufacturing, and will be a
fully-owned subsidiary to Swedish Orphan International AB.
- We are pleased that by taking over the assets of the bankruptcy estate we can
continue the manufacturing of Multiferon in Umeå and re-employ a large number of the
ViraNative employees, said Bo Jesper Hansen, CEO, Swedish Orphan International.
Multiferon is a multi-subtype, natural human alpha interferon derived from human
leukocytes, a central component of the body’s immune system. It is approved for sale in
various international markets, and is primarily marketed for the adjuvant treatment of
high-risk malignant melanoma.
The recent approval of Multiferon by the Swedish MPA (Medical Products Agency) was
based on data from a prospective, controlled, randomised, multicentre clinical study
showing statistically significant benefit for patients treated with Multiferon compared with
the control group. This long-term study of 8.5 years demonstrates that the risk reduction of
melanoma-associated death was almost 50% at the same time as the drug was well
tolerated by the patients.1
Melanoma represents about 4% of all cases of skin cancer, but causes 79% of all skin
cancer deaths. Approximately 132 000 individuals around the world are given the
diagnosis melanoma each year. According to Decision Resources (a medical care
advice organization), the current treatments are toxic as well as ineffective for most
patients. They foresee that all upcoming treatments which can offer small improvements
in survival rates and in tolerance will revolutionize the treatment of malignant melanoma.
Swedish Orphan International is specialized in the development, marketing and distribution of
products used for the treatment of rare or life-threatening disorders, where current treatment is
either unavailable or unsatisfactory. Swedish Orphan International’s head office is in Stockholm,
with wholly owned subsidiaries in all the Nordic countries and in England, Spain, Italy, France,
Germany and Japan, plus representative offices in the three Baltic countries. A subsidiary will
shortly be set up in the Czech Republic. For more information visit: www.swedishorphan.com